Latin Rhetoric and Education in the Middle Ages and Renaissance: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Latin Rhetoric and Education in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

1st Edition

By James J. Murphy


346 pages

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Hardback: 9780860789727
pub: 2005-05-23
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The essays in this volume deal with the history of rhetoric and education for the thousand years from the early Middle Ages to the European Renaissance. They represent the author's pioneering efforts over four decades to piece together a kind of mosaic which will provide elements necessary to construct a history of that thousand years of language activity. Some essays deal with individual writers like Giles of Rome, Peter Ramus, Gulielmus Traversanus, or Antonio Nebrija, some focus on the influence of Cicero and Quintilian and other ancient sources. The essays dealing specifically with education open up different inquiries into the ways language use was promoted, and by whom. Others explore the relations between Latin rhetoric and medieval English literature and, finally, several deal with the impact of printing, a subject still not completely understood.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. The Middle Ages: Western rhetoric in the Middle Ages; The rhetorical lore of the Boceras in Byhrtferth's Manual; The teaching of Latin as a second language in the 12th century; Two medieval textbooks in debate; The scholastic condemnation of rhetoric in the commentary of Giles of Rome on the Rhetoric of Aristotle; Dictamen as a developed genre: the 14th century 'Brevis doctrina dictaminis' of Ventura da Bergamo (with David Thomson); Quintilian's influence on the teaching of speaking and writing in the Middle Ages and Renaissance; Poetry without genre: the metapoetics of the Middle Ages; Rhetoric in 14th-century Oxford. Applications of Latin Rhetoric in Medieval English Literature: A new look at Chaucer and the Rhetoricians; John Gower's Confessio Amantis and the first discussion of rhetoric in the English language; Rhetoric and dialectic in The Owl and the Nightingale. The Renaissance: One thousand neglected authors: the scope and importance of Renaisance rhetoric; Rhetoric in the earliest days of printing, 1465-1500; Caxton's two choices: 'Modern' and 'Medieval' rhetoric in Traversagni's Nova Rhetorica and the anonymous Court of Sapience; Ciceronian influences in Latin rhetorical compendia of the 15th century; Raffaele Regio's 1492 Quaestio doubting Cicero's authorship of the Rhetorica ad Herennium: introduction and text (with Michael Winterbottom); The double revolution of the first rhetorical textbook published in England: The Margarita Eloquentiae of Gulielmus Traversagnus (1479); Antonio Nebrija in the European rhetorical tradition; The relation between Omer Talon's Institutiones Oratoriae (1545) and the Rhetorica (1548) attributed to him; Index.

About the Author

James J. Murphy is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of English, University of California, Davis, USA.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General